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tv   The Stream  Al Jazeera  February 12, 2014 7:30pm-8:01pm EST

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>> hi i'm lisa fletcher and you're in the stream. is the boycott strange u.s. israeli relates or just making headlines? >> our digital producer wajahat ali is here. whenever we barely touch israel and palestine, it's a huge issue. >> when i talked to friends --
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>> on either side. >> i'll try get as much of the diverse community feedback. for example, henry, israel is its own country and should run it as it sees fit. there's a reason why israel does what it does. all the nations have said they want to destroy israel and drive them into the sea. it is the same in the case of south african thawed. unprovoked war which they lost, i support the settlements. speaking about settlements here is lance. bds should complete israel boycott, settlement is just one symptom of the rest of israel. as you can see a light hearted discussion. >> no shortage of discussions on this topic. achieving a two state peace agreement between israel and palestine. for decades, the u.s. have
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called on israel to stop the settlements, they are illegal, the u.n. has passed several resolutions, opposing them. matters in their own hands, launching a boycott, known as bds, hoping to successfully pressure israel where successive administrations have failed. too surprising, when secretary of state john kerry started off a fire storm of criticism when he cautioned that israel could face growing isolation if it didn't reach a peace deal with palestinians. so why is bds such an insendary issue? for more we are joined by lara freedman, the director of policy and government relations,
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americans for peace now, josh ruebner, author of a new book, shattered hopes, obama's fair your to broker israeli-palestinian peace. , avi mayer, and yousef munayyer. the first time we heard about this boycott was when scarlt joscarlett joescarlett je news, soda stream. >> in 2005 emotional 170 different palestinian organizations called upon the international civil society to engage in these types of
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campaigns as a way of helping them to lift israel's boot of oppression off of their neck. so that's where the call emanated from. and of course it is modeled after the successful campaign for boycott divestment and sanctions that help lead for the downfall of thawed in south africa. >> this was a bit of an unknown issue, when scarlett johanssen and sow today stream hit the air waves. >> in this particular case, the actress had signed a very lucrative contract with seed stream to be their global ambassador. soda stream is based an illegal settlement in the west bank that
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profits from the palestinian labor and resources. when she signed along to soda stream, began to put pressure on oxfam, the organization she was also global ambassador for. saying it was simply incomprehensible, that oxfam is engaged with could be a spokesperson as well for a corporation that's doing so much damage to the palestinians. >> lara give us a little bit of historical perspective. why is the u.s. opposed to the israeli. >> in 1969, israel came into position of these lands and it basically left them in limbo.
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to make them part of israel to give them back, for whatever it was they left them in limbo all of these years. this is not land that descrealt thinks is part of -- israel thinks is part of israel. under international law it's problematic and as a policy issue it has always been opposed by every u.s. administration. there has not been an effective way to take that issue seriously and we have seen a deepening of settlement. when you talk about settlements in bds, i'd like to focus on what josh said. soda stream is not really the best example of what bds movement is about. because for a lt of us who are protest -- lot of us who are protesting soda stream, soda stream move your factory, into
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sovereign israel and i'll buy a machine of yours for all my friends. i draw the green line bright. what you do on your side of the green line you have a right to do, until there's agreement, what you do on the other side you don't have a right to do. i want to make it very, very clear, where josh and i differ respectfully on this because i do not think it's right to boycott soda stream if it's inside israel, i do believe it's right the boycott if it's in the occupied territories. >> there are others who would like the boycott movement to really achieve more. talk a little bit about that. >> well, the boycott divestment and sanction movement has three central objectives that are really all tied together. the first is ending the occupation, in the west bank and gaza and providing self-determination for the
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palestinians who live there. equality for palestinians inside israel and inside the green line and a equitable solution in coordinates with international law u.n. resolution 194 to the palestinian refugee issue, the right of return of palestinian refugees. as is very clear, the policies of the israeli state, are doing so on both sides of the green line. and so the distinction that lara makes is not one that i would make at all. and in fact i want even make that in roared to the settlements either. because -- in regard to the settlements either. yes the settlements may be located in the west bank but they don't sprout up when it rains a little bit. these are driven by policies of the state which are formulated at the very corridors of power of the israeli state, the israeli political establishment and so on. and so i think that every target
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within the israeli -- >> well yousef -- >> lawful nobody violent way to push for equality for marinians palestinians, it won't show a tangible impact until tipping point is reached. he thinks we're getting closer all the time. dahlia says the bds campaign will achieve a big fat doughnut zero. jeweg, the only impact is cosmetic and avi you're joining us from jerusalem. going off sol's comment there u.s. has a special relationship with israel, unconditional support, they give billions of aid. do you think the bds campaign has any impact on u.s.-israeli relations or towards the
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israeli-palestinian conflict? >> if there is impact it is only been positive. the u.s. support for the state of israel is at its highest point at a quarter-century matched with the highest level of support of all time. this is a bipartisan issue, it goes across the aisle. and what we've seen in recent days actually have been a very significant backlash genetics the bds movement. because this isn't usually a conversation about tactics. there is no one who would argue that tactics aren't better than suicide bombings or rockets. the question is what is the end game? it's been made clear by bds leadership that, the end game, other leaders of the bds movement are very clear, in their desire to see israel eliminated as the nation-state of the jewish people and that is a goal that no matter where you might sin on the opposition, on
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israeli policy? the majority of americans, i would say the majority of the international community simply doesn't agree with. >> josh is there controversy over the bds movement over whether it should include the right of return of palestinians to israel? >> well, the bds movement that was illustrated by palestinian civil society is very clear on this issue but i would challenge this notion that providing equality of palestinian citizens of israel and finally allowing palestinian refugees their guaranteed right of return to homes from which they were ex island, is making sure that israel complies with international law. south africa didn't stop being south africa because thawed ended. the united states didn't end being the united states after we
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ended slavery. all the bds movement is doing is asking israel to behave in a way that is commensurate with the obligation and responsibilities of any other country in the wrorld. >> all right on that note we're going to hit a break. in another bds controversy the american studies association endorsed the study saying this is potentially a threat to american-israeli relations. even the u.s. congress moved the cut funding for any institutions which endorsed the boycott, which leads someone to ask, will this chill free speech, think about that. we're back in two minutes.
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>> welcome back. we're talking about a boycott and sanction he movement against israeli companies and academics, whether it's strange u.s.
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israeli relations. the new york state legislature introduced a bill to cut state funding to any state institution that participated in boycotts of israel. this prompted a response from the new york times editorial board saying the new york bill is an ill-considered response to the american studies association resolution and would trample on academic freedoms and chill speech. avi why such concern from american la lawmakers over the boycott? >> not necessarily what lawmakers are saying but what academics are saying. in the aftermath of this vote, of the american studies association to boycott israel, there has been a massive backlash to the point where more than 200 university college and university presidents from across the spectrum have come out and said they will not
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support this boycott, that it runs counter to academic freedom and to the values that their institutions hold dear. and i think that that is -- it is very telling that when it's -- when bds is viewed as targeting israel as a whole, rather than punishing israel for whatever perceived offense is committed, that's something that's simply won't pass that the u.s. milk will not support -- the u.s. public will not support. and i think we'll see that increasing as bds continues to be a conversation point. >> but it's one thing for academics to have a stake in it or be activists. what stake do lawmakers have to make a move like this? >> look, i can't comment on lawmakers' motivations one way or the other. i can say that reports of the u.s. relationships death are greatly exaggerated. like i said the relationship is at an all-time high and i believe it's in america's
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interest and certainly in israel's interest to maintain that connection. if it's possible that that's what lawmakers are supposed to do. >> to combat israeli boycotts are unconstitutional, amani says lies in all the measures, eliminate discussion on bds in public discourse. eric says i leave this constitutionality to the courts. those try to delegitimize, says, scoda, has said, yousef, one of the influences of congress to pass this bill what they say is the undue influence of the israeli lobbies on the u.s. political system. do you think there is a influence and do you think if this influence exists does it in the long run actually hurt israel's interest and reputation? >> well, to the question of what
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the lawmakers have in for pushing this legislation, the legislation came after the former israeli ambassador from the u.s. asked for this to be put forward so they respond to that in congress. i think bigger issue here is that american lawmakers, i think, are already doing enough, a horrible, horrible things to support israeli policies that are tra tramp tram trampling ope rights of american citizens to continue supporting israel to occupy and colonize palestinian territory. everybody should really take a very strong stance against any
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sort of movements that are obviously clearly against the first amendment of the u.s. constitution. >> lara. >> i would point out if you read the articles about this, there have been a number of organizations, far to my right have said this is a bad idea, it is unconstitutional, this is not the way to go. i don't think this law, this legislation in the house is going anywhere. i do worry it is the first shot across the bow. and my argument is and i'm going to refer to something that avi said. when you go after all of israel as opposed to focusing on settlements i think it's a much more problematic case. we don't support that. we are not part of the bds movement. we support boycotting, settlement, settlement frowcts, targeting the occupation and we do that alongside our israeli counterpart, our israeli peace now movement, who say israelis need to see the green line,
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saying this is israel, this is not israel, we cannot expect others to do it. and the folks bhor on the far -- who are on the far right, are going to happily say there is no green line. there is a green line. at the same time, this is not how you fight bds. it is misdirected, it is misguided and i think it's just really, really stupid. >> josh your group is advocating against bills like the one in new york and the one in congress. >> yeah, and just to pick up on something yousef said, i think the frantic efforts we are seeing by the israel lobby to try opleaj to legislate against, that bds is something of little significance, it is inobvious that the israeli -- breaking his
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back, john kerry is trying to force upon the palestinians, a framework that is incredibly beneficial to israel, where palestinians would have no sovereignty over their air space, where palestines would not be allowed to be returned to their homes and their lands et cetera. he's warning, that if they don't take the deal they see the writing on the wall. that israel is going to be a thawed state like south africa was. this is the reality of where global society is heading and israel and their supporters would prefer to bury their heads in the sand and pretent that the international community is going along and agree to israel's
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anti-thawed feelings. >> on google plus, israel he says will lose u.s. support. times have changed and bds is part of the change. it is time for israel to change as well if it wants to thrive and of course lisa that's just one side. >> israeli foreign minister promised this beak that within 45 days the public would see the plan israel has in plan to fight the boycotts. secretary of state john kerry as we just mentioned warned israel about the possibility of a boycott movement. should israel be worried? tweet us your thoughts. we're going to get them in after the break. >> my name is elliot ackerman, i'm in the stream.
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♪ ♪ >> welcome back. we're talking about the boycotted movement targeting israel and its impact on u.s. israeli relations. and waj before the break we asked whether folks thought israel should be worried. >> yes, because israel has every reason to be worried. not just because what bds is doing, the truth at last, the israeli emperor is really and truly stark naked. and vastly overestimate the sanctions on south africa and ignore internal activist efforts and bds will gradually intense phi. we saw the same in thawed south africa. lara, is bds winning and how will israel both in the short
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term and long term react to this? >> i can't say in the long term, i think they are worried. i would differ with some of my fellow panelists, i don't think this is a victory for the global bds movement. this is one piece and it's definitely one piece, and the push back is tremendous on it and i'm not just talking activists and the things in congress. but the things that have the israelis the most worried are the european directive. a few months ago, europe issued a directive which threatens, over the issue of settlements. that's drawing the green line. the soda stream issue, this is not the global bds movement. this is drawing the grown line. these are all things that from my perspective are only positive. they legitimize israel within its borders and they target things israel is doing across the green line.
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that's what's having the real impact today. when israelis are looking ahead, they are not so concerned about whether performers will come the descrealt or whatever. -- israel or whatever. for years they've taken for granted, made in israel and get beneficial trade agreements. i think not anymore. and that's changing. >> avi a lot of people like to draw exawrns between this boycotts -- comparisons between this boycott and the international movement, which dismantled the thawed movement. >> i think the comparison is offensive and illegitimate. i think what's interesting is i actually agree with what hamsa said on twitter. the truth is getting out but not quite the way he thinks. over the past few days we've seen not one not two but three
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pieces in the new york times. the goals are essentially to do away with israel as a jewish state. so i think activates really need to ask themselves are they in favor of bringing about a two state solution, a peaceful solution to the conflict which a majority of israelis and palestinians want, or say the jewish citizens are not entitled to the same rights as other people and therefore there should not be israel. once you answer that question you'll know where you are on bds and you'll reject it. >> community feeling, its failures are greater than its successes. amy says the boycott of south africa investments took time but bds may be one of the only ways to make israel heed its demands. yousef do you think bds is a strategy to help palestinians
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achieve self determination? >> yes, absolutely. what israelis are going to do to counter bds, they're going to hire more and more people to try and smear it and make you afraid of it. the bds position stands for palestinian rights, regardless of where you are, the bds movement is going to continue to advocate for those rights. i just want to make a point on john kerry. >> 20 seconds. >> what he did was actually one of the most important ways to help the bds movement because the bds movement in part grew to the response to the failure of americans to put any pressure on the israelis. and here the united states is playing the role of the mediator, this huge powerful ally of israel the only player that has the position to actually wrap it pickup. >> on that note we're going to have to end the program.
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thanks to our guests for joining the program. the very, very informative conversation. until next time we'll see you online. >> good evening everyone. welcome to al jazeera america. i'm john siegenthaler in new york. ice, snow, and misery. a devastating winter storm affecting people from texas to maine, stranded travelers, downed power lines. taking a toll from the potholes to lost business, the ever-growing cost of this ugly winter. making the minimum, the president gives federal workers a raise. millions of others are still living under the poverty level. and the end of an era
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